FILM FANS: "2 Guns" cast has chemistry, but nothing else

EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: “2 Guns.” Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

2 stars out of 4 stars

“2 Guns” stars Denzel Washington (DEA, Bobby Trench) and Mark Wahlberg (Naval Intelligence/marksman Marcus Stigman), who are both working undercover unbeknownst to the other, isn’t even close to shooting a bull’s-eye. In fact, “2 Guns” misses the side of the barn by a mile. The problem with the movie isn’t Denzel and Wahlberg or the supporting cast — Bill Paxton, Edward James Olmos, James Marsden, Fred Ward and Paula Patton ­— they all did a good job. The problem with the movie is that it relied too heavily on what producer Baltasar Kormakur does best ­— lots of big guns, weapons, shoot-outs and explosions, instead of writing a good story, which would have given the actors a chance to hit the mark.

The plot was convoluted and hard to follow. Spoiler alert: Denzel and Wahlberg are undercover agents who set each other up, devising a plan to rob a bank of $3 million dollars which they think belongs to the local drug cartel. Stealing millions of the drug cartel’s money is a brilliant plan! Drug thugs never seek revenge or resort to violence in retaliation, right? Ah, not so much. The instant the backup personnel didn’t show to “rescue” the two, I knew exactly who was behind the setup. But wait! There’s more! There’s not one double cross (Denzel and Wahlberg), not two (love interest/co-conspirator), not three (very bad CIA man) but four (very bad Navy hunk).

Denzel and Wahlberg had great chemistry. They played off each other very well and were quite likeable. Their performance reminded me of back-in-the-day Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy in “48 Hrs.” I think with a better script and less reliance on guns and explosions, this movie would have been a dead-ringer. In my arsenal, it was just so-so.

— Myra Simons, Buford

1 and a half stars out of 4 stars

What could possibly go wrong with a movie starring big names like Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, with Bill Paxton and Edward James Olmos in supporting roles? PLENTY.

“2 Guns” starts out with some promise: Bobby (Washington) and Stig (Wahlberg) are two hoodlums who decide to knock over a bank and make off with $4.125 million of what they think is drug cartel money. During the heist, they get double-crossed and the money goes missing. Bobby and Stig kidnap a cartel kingpin (Olmos) and squeeze him to tell them where the money is. Turns out that the stolen loot actually belongs to the CIA, whose corrupt local boss (Paxton) is skimming from the cartels — and he wants all that dinero back. And oh, by the way, Bobby is an undercover DEA agent, and Stig is undercover U.S. Navy intelligence, but they don’t discover that about each other until halfway through the flick.

The chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg is great, and really carries the movie. They riff off each other well, and bring an occasional comedic turn to the otherwise bloody action. Paxton and Olmos are fine in their roles as well. But …

“2 Guns” is basically a jumbled mess of a shoot-em-up, featuring double-crosses and triple-crosses. Check out the name of the bank that is robbed: Tres Cruces (Three Crosses) — nudge nudge, wink wink. The plot is hard to follow, and there are continuity problems between scenes. From a casting standpoint, “2 Guns” is loaded for bear, but ends up shooting a lot blanks.

— Tim Weekley, Suwanee

3 stars out of 4 stars

I liked the interaction between the two stars. They went from good buddies to almost enemies and back again. Many times I’ve gone to the movies and wondered when the movie was going to get over. This time I was surprised that it was over already so I guess it kept me engaged. It is under two hours but seemed to go quickly anyway.

The language and violence definitely earn it the “R” rating it was given. I sure hope this is purely fiction. If our CIA, DEA or any branch of the services is this violent and corrupt, we are in deep trouble.

It is hard to beat the acting of Denzel Washington and the whole cast does a good job. The action is plentiful and gunshots are numerous. Even though both stars think the other guy is a thug, there is evidence that they are not. One picks up a crying baby in the midst of robbing the bank and another time rescues someone about to drown in the river. Overall, it was a good movie if you don’t mind the language and violence.

— J. P. Zinn, Lawrenceville